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Tex-Mex Empanadas For Love

Tex-Mex Empanadas For Love


Make with

Pillsbury Crescents

2

(8 oz) tubes Pillsbury™ refrigerated Crescent Dough Sheet

2

(9.5 oz) bags Old El Paso™ Tortilla Stuffers™ carne asada steak

1/2

Roma tomato, finely diced

1

cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

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  • 1

    Roll each dough sheet out on a floured surface. Use a rolling pin to get it even thinner. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out 10 hearts per sheet. 20 total.

  • 2

    Microwave each packet according to instructions. Or toss into a skillet and heat throughout.

  • 3

    Spritz a baking sheet with a little cooking spray, then arrange the hearts on the sheet. Layer with meat mixture, followed by diced tomato, then some shredded cheese, and finally a little cilantro. Place another heart on top and press to seal. Voila, empanadas.

  • 4

    Slide into a 375°F preheated oven and bake for about 13 minutes, or until golden brown.

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • Empanada your hearts away, lovers!

    Seriously.

    Just when you thought Valentine's day food was strictly limited to candy, chocolate and plaid unicorns, I go and do something like this.

    Tex-Mex Empanadas. In heart shapes.

    And now you can't decide whether to bear hug me or punch me in the face. I know.

    Actually, I think we're on the cusp of something brand new in the V-day food arena. Fresh approaches, different angles, new territory to explore.

    But we'll go ahead and serve these fresh approaches inside cute little heart-shaped pastries, to avoid being thrown out of CIVILIZATION.

    You're leaning towards the face punch, I can feel it.

    Let's make em!

    Chop up a little tomato and cilantro for frayeshness.

    Now, you can either zip these carne asada fillings in the microwave per the instructions on the package, or throw them into a skillet to heat through. I did that so you could see how good this looks.

    Hearts, hearts, hearts!

    Layer up your fillings. Lil' meat mixture, lil' tomato, lil' cheese, lil' cilantro.

    Place another heart on top to seal the deal. Get it? Seal the deal? You seal it? Together? Never mind.

    Bake, bake, bake. Heart-shaped empies! You can call them empies too if you want.

    I ate 4,000 of them.

    And I want 4,000 more.

    I dare you to blindfold your lover and feed him these. No, really. Do it.

    More Easy Mexican Recipes to Love

    Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas Recipe
    Mexican Vegetable Roll-Ups Recipe
    Easy Mexican Chicken and Beans Recipe
    Tex-Mex Breakfast Bake Recipe
    Mini Tostadas Recipe

    * Bev realizes that no one will actually throw her out of civilization if these empanadas were any other shape. She just likes to be festive, that's all. Geez. For more musings, visit her blog at Bev Cooks and her Tablespoon profile.

    What are you having for Valentine's Day dinner?


Empanadas: A Terrific Meal or Appetizer

Have you ever heard of empanadas? Even if you're not familiar with the term, if you live somewhere in the American Southwest, you've probably eaten one and not even known it!

In Spanish, the word empanar means "to bread" or coat with breadcrumbs. These half-moon shaped pastries can be made in different sizes, from the larger version referred to as an empanada, to an appetizer-size called an empanadita. They're a lot like the fried pies that you may have found in your lunch box during your schooldays. However, empanadas are more versatile. You can make both savory and sweet ones, depending on the filling you use. They can be cooked in two ways: by baking or frying.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. This is the story of how necessity introduced me to the empanada.

When I was in high school in San Antonio, my friends and I used to eat out a lot. Our favorite Tex-Mex eatery was a place on San Pedro Avenue called Teka Molino. It wasn't fancy, but the food was wonderful. Everything was made from scratch – even their masa. When you placed your order at the front counter, you could watch several women prepare your food. Whatever you ordered, you couldn't go wrong. I loved the bean rolls, which were corn tortillas rolled around a refried bean filling. Those beans were so addictive that after I moved to Dallas and went back on visits, I would always stop by Teka Molino and get some bean rolls.

With gasoline prices so high, added to the fact that it's a long drive from Dallas to San Antonio (and I'm not getting any younger), my visits became less frequent. I still craved those refried beans, though, and that craving increased to the point where I was determined to make some myself.

For my first effort, I used canned pinto beans instead of cooking them from scratch. I wanted instant gratification -- no waiting for beans to soak. With my large skillet at hand, I debated whether to use corn oil or canola, which is normally my cooking oil of choice. I chose the corn oil, warming about 1/3 cup in the skillet over medium heat.

Next, I added 1 minced garlic clove and about 1/3 cup of finely chopped white onion (if you like onion, you might want to use more, so experiment) and cooked them until they were soft, stirring frequently. Then, I added the beans with their liquid. Adding 1 cup at a time makes it easier to mash them. The back of a big wooden spoon works well. Gradually, I mashed the rest of the pinto beans (not totally mashed I like mine a bit chunky). In all, I used 3 cups of canned beans. Cook about 10 minutes if you like your refried beans smooth, but still moist. I prefer mine a bit drier and crusty, so I cook them a little longer.

Well, the result was good, but if I entered it in a contest against Teka Molino's refried beans, I would lose. Something was missing. Thinking back, I remembered that their beans had a delicious, slightly smoky taste. I consulted several cookbooks and found the missing ingredient: bacon drippings. So, after frying enough bacon to render 1/3 cup of drippings, I tried again. Success! I may not have duplicated Teka Molina's recipe exactly, but it was close enough for me.

Back to empanadas. On one of my visits to Teka Molino's, I decided to buy a larger amount of the refried beans to take back to Dallas. While paging through a Tex-Mex cookbook, I discovered empanadas and decided to use the refried beans for the filling. It was a marriage made in heaven.

As I mentioned before, empanadas can be baked or fried. I prefer to bake mine. You don't have to mess with frying them, plus it's healthier. Here are two versions for you to try. One is a sweet treat, the other a delicious main dish. Both are great for weekend football-watching parties in front of the TV.


How To Store Empanadas?

When you want to reheat empanadas you have to store them first. When you cooked empanadas let them cool completely first.

There are several ways to store empanadas:

  • Refrigerator – when you want to prepare empanadas within a day or two you can store them in the fridge. Put them in a Ziploc bag or an airtight food container
  • Freezer – want to keep them longer you can store them in the freezer. Again store them in a Ziploc bag or a food container for up to 3 months. You can also wrap them individually using aluminum foil


My Empanada Story

I grew up with a fabulous chef for a mother. No, she has not (yet) achieved recognition from the James Beard committee or any other food critics.

Does she deserve recognition, though? Yes.

This pumpkin empanada originated with an old family friend who ran a Mexican bakery. Over the years, my mother modified the dough recipe to add brown sugar cane (piloncillo) and other ingredients to her liking.

It took some effort to document this baked empanada recipe, since my mom usually adds more or less of certain ingredients based on texture and taste. It’s the old fashioned way of cooking: feeling + intuition!

We documented the steps in painstaking detail, but we reserve the right to make tweaks and adjustments as we experiment with future batches. After all, isn’t that what all good chefs do?

Hopefully, you’ll share your ideas and suggestions with us, too!

Related articles:

You might also like my Baked Apple Empanadas or this traditional Mexican Oatmeal (Avena) Recipe.


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